Nothing Ever Dies
Posted: 03rd March 2016
It's easy to only focus on the sadness inherent in an old derelict building like Taunton. When you know the misery in the history of a asylum, and you see only the ruins of what it once was, you sometimes become blinded by the macabre and morose, by thwarted hopes and unchecked corruption.
If this is all you see - in an abandoned building, in your own life, in the world around you it's easy to feel that perhaps it would be best to erase it all, to hide everything away so deep that it can't encroach upon your fleeting comforts and contentment. But, in this place where such terrible, tragic things occurred there is something else that resides there - sometimes in the brilliant green ivy that works its way into cracks and crevasses the way lovers' fingers entwine, sometimes in the softness of the wind, or the stillness of untouched afternoon sunlight - or the way gravity welcomes the falling rafters back to the earth and time absolves its past in the oblivion of unmolested sleep. Taunton had such beauty - in the sincerely charitable ambitions that built it, in the graceful forms of its architect's true design, in the naive hope of the many who genuinely believed it could bring a cure for the ill, and in those confined who stole friendships and dignity from the greedy hands of disgrace and neglect. If you can't see these things, you'll never understand why I do what I do.
Photographs capture slivers of time. They preserve a point of view, a moment that would otherwise be forever lost. If you seek truth through them, maybe you can illuminate the soul of a thing, and maybe show someone else the proud glory and splendor of the forgotten and forsaken. The triumphs and frailties of human endeavor may now be heard only in echoes, but I guarantee you if you are quiet and you listen you will hear not screams of agony and anguish, but the sweet serenity of final release.
If you approach the past with humility and reverence in your heart you'll realize that immortality is not something anyone can ever capture - but if you are very lucky, through a photograph perhaps you may capture a glimpse, a fleeting moment of something that, in its own abstract and inexplicable way, proves beyond a doubt that nothing ever dies.
Image and text by Matthew Christopher
Visit the rest of this gallery on my website here. If you're interested in more Abandoned America blogs, follow this link. If you enjoy my writing, check out my books: Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream (Amazon / Barnes & Noble) or Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences (Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Signed copies).
By Linda J Mercer: This article you wrote, this article I just read. I've got it. I feel it every time I look, really look at an abandoned home or building or even a tool someone, someday in the past worked with, touched. Thank you for your writing and for sharing your gift of expression that you display in your photo's and your writing.
By Jim: Very poetic prose, well written. And how you managed to balance the light in this photograph is beyond my amateur skills. Hats off to your expertise, and thank you for both the photo and the writing.
By Davey: People think I'm strange looking at urban exploration photos. They fill me with nostalgia and mystery. Most of all, they remind me that nothing is permanent. People go away, one way or another. Buildings decay or are demolished. Cars die, even beloved vehicles. All that gives me hope. It applies even to the bad. You may be in a bad situation, but by the example in these pictures that froze time, you know it ends eventually. Hope is what we all need, and knowing that nothing is permanent, comforts me.
By Mari Costello: Your presentation on Thursday at the Norristown public library was thought provoking. I enjoyed your work and the evening. Thank you
By BRYAN: everyone talks about the abandoned buildings, yet they never ask what happened to the people who were there.